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A perspective from Professor Robert Kelly of the Asian Security Blog. Nobody denies the important role that law enforcement plays, but we must ask ourselves whether militarized police forces are the best option. This comparison between how the US deals with protests that spin out of control versus South Korea’ handling of such situations is worth a read.

via The Floyd Protests: The South Korean Police are Far Less Belligerent than US Departments

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Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | May 28, 2020

The “Covidiocy” Must Stop – Lives Are at Risk

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From Every Form of Covidiocy, Good Lord Deliver US!

The top buzz words of 2020 are probably going to turn out to be “covidiot” or “covidiocy”, or some variations thereof. The pandemic has dominated so much of the news cycle that I’m hesitant to ride that particular wave. However, examples of people’s disregard for others are rampant.

  • Spreading misinformation, including comparing CoVid19 to the flu
  • Failing to hold elected leaders and pundits calling for people to sacrifice themselves for the economy to account
  • People attacking the immunocompromised and elderly for keeping themselves safe

Stop the Misinformation

The 2019 coronavirus isn’t the flu, folks. Yes, we all know that there are some similar symptoms and that the common influenza virus also kills. However, we’re in some uncharted territory with this pandemic and false information benefits nobody.

The more accurate the information we all have about this pandemic is, the better. When the information we have is correct, we will be a better position to resume some amount of normalcy. Most importantly, we and those closest to us will be safer.

By the way: you are not going to take the “mark of the beast” and/or be microchipped if you get vaccinated. Face masks do not cause hyponexia, either.

These types of hoaxes and misinformation campaigns are spread by charlatans, fraudsters and those who otherwise have an interest in causing trouble (sadly, too many such types exist). Please use your common sense and stop letting memes and statuses with debunked and/or disproven information do your thinking for you!

Hold Leaders or Pundits Accountable

It didn’t take very long for certain pundits and politicians who have wrapped themselves in a “pro-life” label to show inconsistency – by lauding the notion of older adults sacrificing themselves for the benefit of the economy. Somehow I suspect that if the “sacrificial seniors” were the parents, grandparents or other relatives of those who follow such people, said followers might be singing a different tune.

When people in the public spotlight toss around such notions, they need to be held accountable. Boycott media personalities who promote such ideas, as well as their sponsors and let them know why. In the case of elected officials with poor regard for human lives, vote them out!

Stop Attacking the Immunocompromised/Those Trying to Keep Themselves Safe

People with compromised immune systems can put up with a lot of stuff they shouldn’t have to. One thing they shouldn’t have to cope with is fighting a constant battle against people too selfish to maintain proper space and/or wear a mask. Many of the immunocompromised do work outside the home and have to leave their homes for essentials sometimes.

The very least that people without health issues can do is respect their neighbors/fellow churchgoers/co-workers, etc. and at least not be a serious burden to them. At some point, people need to realize it’s not all about them. Someone with immune issues who must leave their home sometimes deserves the same respect as anyone.

Just somethings to think about in the light of this pandemic.

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Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | May 7, 2020

From a friend of a friend of a friend of another friend –

adult alone anxious black and white Photo by Kat Jayne on

“You guys… I can’t. I just can’t. I just logged on… and the first thing my eyes saw was a post about Costco requiring patrons to wear a mask or other face-covering starting next week. There were over SIX HUNDRED comments with (people) having an absolute meltdown. I mean… I’m dumbfounded. Like boycotting/canceling memberships/pouting/foot stomping meltdown. So, I’m just going to give my friends fair warning. I’ve had enough with this trend of self-pity disguised as patriotism.

Things to consider before you clutch your pearls, stomp off indignantly, or get a case of the vapors over this intolerable assault on your human rights…to shop at Costco.

You are not the center of the universe.
-Our supply chain is struggling. Retailers are spread CRAZY thin and can not handle more of their staff being out sick or quarantined if they can help it.
-Hourly retail workers have parents and children and spouses who are medically fragile. And they simply want to work in the safest possible environment. I know, HOW DARE THEY!
-Costco, in particular, has a long history of paying its employees a better wage than any competitors and provides really solid benefits. They are probably a company worth supporting.
Your medically fragile friends and neighbors can stay home to a point. They do need to eat. They do need to pick up prescriptions. No one is asking you to wear a mask at a night club. Of course, medically fragile people don’t NEED to be at a nightclub. They DO need to get groceries and prescriptions.
No business owner wants to end up being sued when an essential retail worker gets sick or infects a bunch of people. Because let’s face it, the government’s promises to handle the financial impacts of this hasn’t exactly panned out for businesses so far.
-There are far bigger assaults on one’s ‘freedom’ and autonomy. Did you know that many adult women can’t get their tubes tied without their partner’s written consent? Blink. Blink. Blink.

Just imagine the amount of privilege and comfort one must live in to be so insulted or tortured by what is, at worst, a mild inconvenience.

So, before you get all Scarlet O’Hara, just stop. Ask yourself if of allllll the battles to pick in this whole wide world, this … THIS … is going to be the cross you choose to bear.

Maybe this is all for nothing. Maybe face coverings aren’t as efficient, or foolproof, or comfortable as we’d like. But, you aren’t being tortured or oppressed. Do those hard-working supply chain workers a solid and get over yourself.

And before I see one more smug, “Well they better be handing masks out at the door then.” Ask yourself why you, a retail shopper, deserve a handout from Costco. We are asking many of our healthcare workers to wear bandanas and t-shirts as masks. You aren’t above it. There are school children all over this country who are sewing masks to give away. If a 7-year-old can be a decent person and choose to make the world a little more comfortable or safe, then so can you.

The bottom line is, don’t be a jerk. Just put a mask on your mouth breathing face and let the greeter see the smile in your eyes as you head off to buy your cases of bottled water, pool floats and cheap premixed margaritas. You’ll be fine.”

*please copy & paste to share – Author unknown to me

Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | March 30, 2020

A Great Blast from the Past

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If you’re not familiar with the term, “Via media, via modem”, you’ve missed out on what was probably one of the most interesting places on the ‘net of the time – Anglican List, also known as St. Sam’s. Having reconnected with a lot of the list members on Facebook over the years has been a real blessing.

Doing Church Online Before It Was a Thing

Way before there was a worldwide pandemic that made many churches temporarily suspend services, a group of Anglicans and Episcopalians met together on an email list. I joined in 1998, not long after being confirmed. Meeting this group of people was an exciting experience for an 18-year-old eager to learn more about the wider Anglican world.

Even though being part of an email list isn’t the same thing as attending physical services, it helps provide a greater sense of connection with like-minded people. When I found myself temporarily in between parishes due to moves, Ang-L helped provide me with friends who were people of faith.

Discovering St. Sam’s

I’ll admit that my first couple of attempts to get involved on message boards or email lists that included people of faith left a bit to be desired. One of my first such encounters involved a board geared general discussion for students that had a crop of angry evangelicals who were out to convert everyone and weren’t fond of mainline church members – I made a friend there I’m still in touch with on Facebook, but exited that board quickly.

My second online faith-based encounter involved an Episcopal-based email list where the hot-button topics generated discussion that often crossed a line into incivility. However, one bright spot was when a few fellow list members introduced me to St. Sam’s, or Anglican List.

Of List Babies and Lasting Friendships

When I joined St. Sam’s, I had the distinction of being the “list baby” (youngest list member). Being that involved with Church-related things at such a young age gave me a perspective that was unique in a setting with a lot of other adults mostly older than me. (Indeed, I set up an Episcopal FAQs website early on that still exists in a section on this blog).

The biggest takeaway from my time being part of this list was how much of a sense of community there was and still is. In this time of social distancing due to coronavirus, our connections with people both near and far are all the more important. From once having had the opportunity to take part in a list meet with another member years ago to most of us finding each other again on Facebook, these friendships do matter.

May we never forget about how much others matter.

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Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | January 5, 2020

A Little Announcement

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You might be seeing slightly fewer original posts here for awhile – there’s nothing to worry about, it’s just that the non-blog pages of this site have been in need of some updates.

The liturgical/Episcopal Church-related pages, as well as the hymn-related pages will be getting an overhaul. I’ll also be adding to the Oasis of Hope and Healing section, as well as creating an Anthropology section.

There isn’t a specific timeframe, as I’ll be working around work/academic and caregiving schedules. However, look for continued regular contributions to my blog on Spiritual Abuse’s website, as well as Beyond Crossposting and the blog for CelticAnglican Shop.

I’ll post an update as each area is revised.

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Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | December 15, 2019


macro shot photography of tea candles Photo by Lisa Fotios on

This ritual for those having difficulty “getting into” the winter holidays and was written by author June Maffin. Links to both her site and Facebook groups follow (I highly recommend them).


Before you begin, I encourage you to find some matches and candles.

As each candle is lit (hopefully in a darkened or semi-darkened room to get the effect of the light emanating from the candle), you may want to have some quiet music playing in the background. Or, you might want to do the ritual in silence. Try not to have the tv, loud music on, or do this at a time when children/family/friends could make demands on you.

If you want some symbolism, choose your candles accordingly. I prefer to use royal blue (the colour of hope), but you may find that white (the colour of wholeness), red (the colour of Spirit), green (the colour of new life) offers deeper significance for you. Use whatever coloured candles you like or have on hand. Speak / think / pray each phrase slowly, reflectively. There is no need to hurry. This is your time.

To begin … take a few slow, deep breaths from your abdomen, inhaling a sense of peace and exhaling that which brings anxiety.

When you find your breathing has slowed down, light the first candle.

I light this candle to remember those who have been loved and lost. I pause to remember them … their face, their voice, their name.

I give thanks for the memory and circumstance that binds them to me.
May Eternal Love surround them.
[Silent time for reflection and simply “be-ing”]

…I light this second candle to redeem the pain of loss: the loss of relationship, the loss of job, the loss of health, the loss of finances.

As I gather up the pain of the past, I offer it, asking that into my open hands the gift of peace, of shalom, of wholeness be placed.

May I be refreshed, restored and renewed
[Silent time for reflection and simply “be-ing.”]

I light this third candle to remember myself. I pause and remember the past weeks, months (years): the down times … the poignancy of memories … the grief … the sadness … the hurt … the anger … the numbness … the shock … the pain of reflecting on my own mortality.

May I remember that dawn defeats darkness. May I remember the words written on a wall at Dachau prison — “I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining. I believe in the stars even when I see them not. I believe in God even when I don’t see God.” (OR FOR A FINAL SENTENCE: “I believe in hope even when I don’t feel it.”
[Silent time of reflection and simply “be-ing.”]

I light this fourth candle to remember the gift of hope. I lean on the Holy One who shares my life, promises a place and time of no more pain and suffering and who loves unconditionally.

May I not forget the One who shows the way and Who goes with me into my tomorrows – or substitute any phrasing of gratitude that will be meaningful for you. [Silent time of reflection and simply “be-ing.”]

Amen. So be it. Amen. (“Amen” means is “So be it.”)

[Silent time of reflection and simply “be-ing” in the darkness]

When you’re ready, transition back to your regular activities by doing something for yourself if you’re able: a long leisurely hot bath, a hot cup of tea/hot chocolate, listening to some gentle music … and know that there are people who care and that even though you may feel alone, you are not alone.

© june maffin

Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | November 29, 2019

Your Handy Liturgical Year “Cheat Sheet”

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A Quick Guide to the Church Year

The liturgical, or Church year, is a practice held by Anglican/Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and many other churches. The year is divided into several seasons, all based on events found in Scripture surrounding Jesus’ life and ministry.

The first season is Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas. Advent symbolizes awaiting the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas, as well as His second coming. Advent is considered to be a season of preparation for Christmas. The Bible readings and hymns focus on the prophecies concerning Christ’s birth, as well as teaching associated with Christ’s return. Violet or deep blue (Sarum blue) is the color of the vestments and altar hangings.

The next season is Christmas, which begins on Christmas Day and lasts for twelve days. (This is where the 12 Days of Christmas come from). Christmas symbolizes Christ’s coming among us in human form. Many of the readings have to do with the stories of Jesus’ birth found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The colors used on the vestments and altar hangings are typically white or gold, symbolizing purity.

Epiphany begins on January 6th and symbolizes Christ’s manifestation to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Epiphany is the day for exchanging gifts in some countries instead of Christmas Day, symbolizing the gifts the magi gave to the baby Jesus. The season of Epiphany ends the day before Ash Wednesday. The liturgical color is green.

Lent begins 40 days before Easter. The Sundays in Lent aren’t part of the 40 days because Sundays are always a celebration of the Resurrection and joyful. Lent is a penitential season. In the early Church, baptismal candidates had a preparation period of three years, later shortened to 40 days. It was also a time for the reconciliation of the excommunicated. Lent reminds us of the need all Christians have to repent of their sins and receive forgiveness, as well as commemorating Jesus’ 40 days fasting in the wilderness. The liturgical color is violet, although some churches use unbleached linen.

Holy Week
The very last week in Lent is Holy Week, commemorating the events from Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to the crucifixion and burial. Palm Sunday often includes a procession of church members carrying palm branches and a special Gospel reading by members of the congregation called the Passion Gospel. Maundy Thursday commemorates Jesus’ institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. Some churches have a foot-washing at this service. The Maundy Thursday service may have a vigil afterward. Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion, and the service is very solemn. There may also be a brief service on Saturday before Easter. The liturgical color for Holy Week is a deep red, and black is usually used on Good Friday.

On the Saturday night before Easter, many churches have a vigil which is considered the first Easter service. Adult candidates for baptism are often baptized at this service. On the next day, the Easter season begins. Easter commemorates Jesus’ resurrection and His appearances to the disciples before ascending into heaven 40 days later. Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter, commemorates this event. The liturgical colors are typically the same as those used at Christmas.

Ten days after Ascension Day is Pentecost, which signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit given to the apostles. This is often called the Church’s birthday. Pentecost Sunday services in large congregations often include readings in the languages of the ethnic groups who make up the congregation, symbolizing the universalism of the Gospel message. The liturgical color is red, symbolizing the Holy Spirit and the tongues of fire that rested on the apostles. Trinity Sunday, honoring the Holy Trinity, follows one week after Pentecost. The season after Pentecost lasts from the first Sunday after Trinity Sunday and ends before Advent. This is called the season after Pentecost, although in some churches it is known as Ordinary Time.

©2001. Written on February 27, 2001*. May not be reproduced without the author’s consent.

*Some minor revisions were made on July 8, 2001 and May 11, 2020.

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Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | November 29, 2019

Christmas is Coming – Let’s Chill, Okay?

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This is sort of a confession from a “reformed liturgical cop” who has had a love/hate relationship with the holiday season. Bear with me, as this is one of my “ramblings”.

Christmas is coming, and people need to chill. The weeks leading up to Christmas are a time of lots of stress and needless drama for a lot of people. Two different Facebook discussions in the past couple of weeks proved remarkably thought-provoking.

A brilliantly-stated meme made an important point about how the same people who relish in calling others “snowflakes” the rest of the year get needlessly uptight about the acknowledgment that people celebrate holidays the other than Christmas (Christ’s Mass, IOW).

FYI, other holidays that fall around this time include:

  • Diwali (occurring in October or November)
  • Hanukkah (can fall between Nov. 28 to Dec. 26)
  • Las Posadas (December 16 to 24)
  • Winter Solstice (December 21)
  • Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1)
  • Chinese New Year (Between the end of January and the end of February)

In a bit of irony, I’ve also seen people rightfully call for others to respect those that celebrate holidays other than Christmas, then criticize the fact that secular radio stations and retailers don’t follow the liturgical Advent and Christmas seasons.

Part of tolerating others’ traditions means accepting that not everyone who identifies as a Christian observes or is even aware of Advent. If this is not a part of some Christians’ celebrations, there is no reason non-Christians should be expected to observe it.

On a personal note, I think it would be nice if more non-liturgical churches were willing to adopt at least parts of the liturgical year. The holiday season, in general, is a difficult time for a lot of people and a more “countercultural” way of celebrating this time of year might be just what some with hurting hearts need.

Tolerance & respect is a better way to encourage observance of Advent than belittling or denying the importance of others’ practices. The reason for this whole season is about light and joy, so let’s try to bring these to the world!

Related posts:

A Bit About Advent

Advent Conspiracy

Advent Conspiracy: Give More

A Nice Summary of Advent (HuffingtonPost)

Keep Calm, It’s Only Advent

Light and Hope

Remember – It’s a Season!

Rowan Williams’ Advent Meditation

St. Martin’s Lent

Yeah, Someone Who Understands!Yeah, Someone Who Understands!

Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | November 3, 2019

Changed, Not Ended: Some Thoughts on All Saints Sunday

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“Through Jesus Christ our Lord; who rose victorious from the dead, and comforts us with the blessed hope of everlasting life. For to your faithful people, O Lord, life is changed, not ended; and when our mortal body lies in death, there is prepared for us a dwelling place eternal in the heavens. (From the Preface for the Commemoration of the Dead, Book of Common Prayer 1979).

The celebration of All Saints’ bridges any divide between the commemoration of those the Church specifically commemorates as examples to remember, and our departed loved ones who aren’t “official” saints, but no less important to those left behind.

This preface used during the Eucharist/Mass for the departed shows how life’s continuity is important to us as part of the human race. Are we really correct in talking about the end of mortal life as we happen to know it, or how it’s changed? I’ve often thought that it’s no coincidence that commemorations involving the end of the year in many cultures (such as Halloween/Samhain in Celtic cultures) fall at a time of year when the days get shorter and many things in nature “die” off.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in 1:11-23 serves as an effective reminder that our places in life’s story don’t end here, and our remembrance of the saints is perfect proof. Life changes all the time, and no one is more aware of that than someone who’s gone through a difficult health challenge or faced exclusion for doing what’s right.

Those of us in the Western world aren’t likely, thankfully, to experience the persecution that’s common in the Middle East and other areas with minimal or no religious freedom. However, that doesn’t make Paul’s words any less timely for the rest of us.

These promises aren’t, or at least shouldn’t be seen as, pie-in-the-sky promises. They are real for us in the here-and-now, too.

The most important thing to remember is that our Redeemer lives – no matter whether we’re facing opposition for what we believe (or don’t believe), a personal crisis, or the loss of a loved one. We have an inheritance to be happy about!

Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | October 31, 2019

So, What Can You Do with an Anthropology Major?

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Anthropology: It’s Not Just About Digging Up the Past

When many people think of anthropology, the first thing that comes to mind is its famous subset: archaeology. The lines between archaeology and treasure-hunting are blurred so much in pop culture, it’s easy to see why some people have the wrong idea of what this field is about.

What IS Anthropology, Anyway?

Even though some use the terms archaeology and anthropology interchangeably, archaeology is a type of anthropology. IOW, all archaeologists are anthropologists, but not all anthropologists are archaeologists. So, what are the different anthropological fields, anyway?

Here’s a list:

  • Archaeology – Studying cultures and people from humanity’s past, the type of anthropology that is most familiar in popular culture. Bear in mind that real archaeologists aren’t out to collect treasures, they’re out to document what they discover.
  • Biological/Physical Anthropology – A subfield that specializes in human genetics, evolution, and health, often working in tandem with medical researchers. A background in this type of anthropology is helpful for professionals involved in forensic work.
  • Cultural Anthropology – The subfield that specializes in society and cultural life, with a broad range of further subfields (such as urban studies, sustainability, etc.) People whose interests lie outside of physical anthropology often prefer this subfield.
  • Linguistic Anthropology – A subfield with a focus on language and its use in society. Linguistic anthropologists study the origins of languages.

This All Sounds Interesting, But What Can You Do With It?

The most obvious thing that you can do with an anthropology degree is teach, although you’ll need to go beyond four-year degree level. However, there are other jobs perfect for anthropology majors you might not have thought about:

  • Journalism and Writing – This type of job can work out nicely with an anthropology degree since the subjects studied help provide a good foundation for a broad range of well-paying writing positions.
  • Social Media/Marketing Specialist – Understanding people is an important part of being a successful marketing pro, so anthropology helps.
  • Translator – Although thought of as a job that is 100% about languages, this type of position also involves a solid understanding of the culture involved.
  • Nonprofit Administrator –  The skills taught in sociological academic programs provide a greater foundation for problem-solving.
  • Public Health Specialists – A greater understanding of cultural issues makes it easier to tackle some of the most pressing health issues affecting communities.

Such a background can even help in museum or historical attraction-related jobs. Regardless of what job you’re seeking, there’s a good chance that anthropological training will help.

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